Waiter has heavy price to pay for overcharging tips, credit card fraud

ST. GEORGE – A 25-year-old man was arrested Monday on 22 counts of forgery and 22 counts of unlawful use of a finance card after he changed the credit card tip amount while serving at a St. George restaurant. His $335 tip slips have landed him a $220,000 bail.

Kyle Matthew West of Washington City, Utah, booking photo posted Aug. 18, 2014 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News
Kyle Matthew West of Washington City, Utah, booking photo posted Aug. 18, 2014 | Photo courtesy of Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

Officers responded to George’s Corner on St. George Boulevard Monday on a citizen’s assist after the restaurant’s owner called police, St. George Police Officer Tim Linton said in his probable cause statement supporting the arrest.

When Linton arrived, the owner of the restaurant told him that she had discovered one of her servers had been changing the credit card tip amount left by his customers on the credit card receipts.

The dollar amounts that were changed totaled $335 for the month of August, Linton said in the statement, and the restaurant owner was still working on the credit card receipts for June and July.

The server was located outside of the restaurant.

Kyle Matthew West, of Washington City, was arrested and charged with 22 third-degree felonies for forgery, along with 22 additional third-degree felonies for unlawful use of a financial card.

West was booked into the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility on Monday. His bail is set at $220,000.

West’s initial court appearance is set for Tuesday. According to booking information posted as this report is published, he remains in custody.

Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

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Email: kscott@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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31 Comments

  • My Evil Twin August 19, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Always, ALWAYS keep your credit card receipts, and check them against your statement! If you find one, (or more,) “in error,” you can dispute it through your credit card company. Take the time to do this, it can save you a whole lot of money in the long run!

  • Robb Willie August 19, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Forty four counts for 335 bucks. Sad. Learn from Ferris Buehler. If you’re going to do something dicey, at least go big. Make it worth your while.

  • PatriotJane August 19, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    Piece of crap. Don’t let him out. He will spend his life preying on others.

  • Dana August 19, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    He has that Alfred E. Neuman look.

  • Simone August 19, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    Always check your receipts against card statements. Who knows how much this guy actually got. Unfortunately though, and I’m not defending or condoning his behavior here, waiters make I think $2an hour plus tips, far too little. This is especially true when you live in the real world and not the perfect society Republicans and other people who fight livable wages for the working class would like you to think we live in.

    • Taylor August 19, 2014 at 9:39 pm

      However, if that server (proper term) did not make over minimum wage for their pay period the employer must compensate them for the remaining wage. Say, for example, that a server works 80 hours in a 2 week pay period. According to minimum wage, that server should make $580 between the $2.13/hr wage and the tips they received. If they only made a total of, say, $500, the employer would be required to pay the remaining $80. However, this is usually difficult to actually carry out in practice as servers will purposefully only claim minimum wages throughout the year in order to pay less on taxes (not blaming them). This means they will claim that, yes, for their work today they got enough tips to make minimum wage or over (usually the credit card tips do this) and then do not declare any cash tips they may have made. Tip (heh): if you really like your server, try to tip in cash as they’ll likely be able to keep more of it. Card-charged tips have to be declared, meaning they will be taxed for those.

      It is worth noting that the wage credit nonsense is only required in certain states. Utah happens to be one of them. However, in other states there are different stipulations. Nevada requires a minimum wage for servers at $7.25 if the server is receiving benefits through the company, and $8.25 if not. Idaho requires a minimum wage for servers at $3.35. And so on. For more information follow this link, describes all server wages in all states.

  • Mary August 19, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    How did they figure out it was him & not the customer putting the tip on ?
    Personally I leave cash for the tip and write ‘cash’ in the tip section of the slip so no one writes in something else .
    I’v e never had someone try to write over it .

    • leery August 19, 2014 at 5:25 pm

      I do the same thing, Mary.

  • Koolaid August 19, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    Is this guy from Dixie?

  • Ynot August 19, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    WOW … first time I haven’t seen kook laid post some low life white trash comment on here as fast as he can! Hopefully he is being detained for the horrendous animal cruelty of the kitty in Springdale!

    • Ynot August 19, 2014 at 5:44 pm

      We’ll there ya go … Posting a the same time… I knew IT couldn’t resist. Love, your Relief Society Pres LOL

      • KWest August 21, 2014 at 4:06 pm

        What about my worthiness Koolaid?

        • koolaid August 22, 2014 at 9:42 pm

          Stay worthy, my friend.

  • Ynot August 19, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    Oh come on kooklaid . Is that all you got?!?!

  • ohdee August 19, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    I take this guy to work all the time, he’s really nice down to earth guy, too bad he had to end up doing something that dumb, but waiters wages are terrible, and some people just leave it open to be preyed upon, feel sorry for everyone this happened to.

    • My Evil Twin August 20, 2014 at 7:16 pm

      Some servers are just plain greedy crooks. Sounds like your “really nice down to earth” guy is one of them.

  • Bob August 19, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    since koolaid hasn’t asked yet, does anyone know where this perp served his mission?

    • KWest August 20, 2014 at 11:32 am

      I didn’t serve a mission.

    • Koolaid August 21, 2014 at 7:47 am

      What about his worthiness?

  • Mr TT August 19, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    The news report said nothing about what restaurant that this happened at. Don’t you think that St George residents have the right to know the name of the restaurant? That would be better news reporting.

    • Joyce Kuzmanic Joyce Kuzmanic August 20, 2014 at 9:03 am

      In this case it does, Mr. TT. Did you read the report?
      ST. GEORGE NEWS | STGnews.com
      Joyce Kuzmanic
      Editor in Chief

    • Allie August 20, 2014 at 5:39 pm

      George’s Corner. It’s in the beginning of the article.

  • Jeeper August 20, 2014 at 1:27 am

    Steal a few buck and get 44 felony charges. Bake your child in your car and get a fund raiser. Only in Utah!

  • reggin August 20, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    This happened at the Green Valley Resort and Spa

    • reggin August 20, 2014 at 5:02 pm

      I know this because I used to work there and this kind of thing is huge with the staff and it still is. It actually happens all the time, I just wish the news would properly report things like this so people would know what they’re getting into when they spend money at scummy places like this.

  • Allie August 20, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    He must be a poor/lazy server. In 1969 I used to make $75-90/day working breakfast/lunch at a Ramada Inn restaurant. My hourly wage was $.35/hr. You can make a decent living as a server if you are friendly, efficient, work the breakfast/lunch crowd (quick turnover=more tips) and work at a decent restaurant. Fly him out over the ocean 5 miles, open the door and make him walk home.

  • SSfreeze August 20, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    This … clown was released by judicial order, so it would appear that he did not even need to come up with the 10% bond money to cover his bail. I wonder who his parents know that made this happen? I agree with “Jeeper”, the child killer gets 20K in benefits and this guy gets multiple felonies. Just does not seem right.
    Ed. ellipsis.

    • Graeme April 29, 2016 at 12:27 am

      Year long rehab programs help you get out of a lot. A little birdy tells me if he completes the program all 44 charges get expunged 🙂 Mr. West has a helluva lawyer.

  • The Rest Of The Story August 21, 2014 at 10:30 am

    The way to stop this is to include gratuity in the cost and pay the wait and kitchen staff a fair wage–not slave wages.
    Those people who claim they “can’t afford to tip very high” really can’t afford to eat out then.
    And the ones who think the tip should be based on service usually have impossible expectations anyway. Someone is running around taking orders from dozens of people and you’re upset because they aren’t your personal servant. Get a life.

  • Dave August 27, 2014 at 8:40 am

    I base my tip on their ability to keep my drink glass full. If they can’t keep me supplied with water then they are neglecting their job. It’s their job.

  • Zonkerb September 2, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    Eat out a lot.? no problem do what I do pay cash.!

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